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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Health care premiums could drop for older adults

By Susan B. Garland





JewishWorldReview.com | Time for a reality check: If you're in your 50s or 60s and need to find an individual insurance policy, you'll likely be better off in the future health care marketplace.

Starting in 2014, the law, which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, will prohibit insurers from denying applicants coverage -- or charging them more -- based on preexisting conditions, such as heart disease or Parkinson's. Also, tax credits to help defray the cost of premiums will be available to married couples with modified adjusted gross income of up to $60,520 and to individuals with modified AGI of up to $44,680 (those numbers are in 2012 dollars and will be adjusted for inflation in 2014).

Moreover, the law will narrow the difference in premiums between policies sold to older applicants and younger ones, leading many experts to believe that costs for older adults will decline. The new "age rating" rule, together with the subsidies, could mean that older adults who didn't have the money to buy coverage in the past "can make a different judgment about affordability now that they have a little help," says Geraldine Smolka, senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute.

Despite the likely improvements for a large number of older applicants, many seniors, especially those who are not eligible for tax credits, could still have a tough time affording the premiums, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs. Medical costs are likely to continue to rise, and it's unclear whether subsidies will keep pace with rising premiums in future years.

Still, many early retirees and the growing number of older adults who are self-employed are likely to get some relief. The number of uninsured persons ages 50 to 64 has exploded in the past decade -- to 8.9 million in 2010, up 71 percent from 2000, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by Smolka and co-researchers. The increase has been due in part to growth in that age group, rising health care costs and the loss of employer-based coverage during the economic downturn.


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Under the health care law, about 3.9 million uninsured older adults would be eligible to receive tax credits, and 3.4 million would be eligible for Medicaid coverage, according to the AARP study. (Medicaid estimates would change if some states reject federal funds to expand the program, as the Supreme Court ruled that states could do.) The study also estimates that more than half of the 4.2 million older adults who were covered by individual plans in 2010 would be eligible for tax credits or Medicaid coverage.

To be eligible for tax credits, you must buy a commercial policy on a state-based insurance exchange. The exchanges will offer four benefit plans, varying in price by the percentage of the total expenses that the plan would cover. For example, the "silver" plan, the second-lowest benefit plan, would have a 70 percent actuarial value, meaning that consumers would pay on average 30 percent of the expenses, including deductibles, co-insurance and other out-of-pocket costs.

Even if you're not eligible for government aid, many experts believe costs of individual policies will decline for many older adults. That may be especially true for older adults who are paying high rates because of a medical condition.

The law will allow insurance companies to continue to charge older, sicker applicants more than younger ones -- but there will be restrictions. Depending on the state, insurers can now charge older applicants five or six times more than what they charge younger applicants in the same geographic area, says Carrie McLean, consumer specialist with eHealthInsurance.com, an online broker.

Under the new law, the "age band" can be no wider than three-to-one for the same health plan, even for older applicants with costly preexisting conditions. McLean says she expects that premiums will drop for less-healthy older people "because so many younger, healthy adults will be brought into the insurance market."

According to one private analysis, premiums could decline by about 12 percent for individuals who are 55 to 64 in states that now allow insurers to impose a five-to-one age rating. Premiums in these states could rise for young adults, according to the study.

Tax credits to defray the costs of premiums will be available to applicants with AGI of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $44,680 for an individual and $60,520 for a couple in 2012. The credit will limit the share of income that a person will pay for premiums, and the credit's size will shrink as income rises.

For example, someone at 133 percent of the poverty level ($14,856 in 2012) will not pay more than 3 percent of income for premiums. Someone at 400 percent won't pay more than 9.5 percent of income. Those with incomes below 133 percent will generally be eligible for Medicaid. People with incomes of up to 400 percent of poverty also could get subsidies for deductibles and co-payments.

The size of the tax credit will be tied to the silver plan's cost. Consider a 55-year-old whose income is 350 percent of the federal poverty level -- $39,095 in 2012. Based on estimates that the silver plan could cost a 55-year-old $8,495 in 2014, she could pay $3,714 (9.5 percent of income), and the subsidy could be $4,781.

Because the premium could rise with age, older individuals at similar income levels could get bigger subsidies. A 64-year-old whose income is 350 percent of the poverty level could pay a premium of $10,172. He could pay 9.5 percent of income, or $3,714, while the government could kick in $6,458. (You can check your own possible tax credits with the Kaiser Family Foundation's calculator at http://healthreform.kff.org/subsidycalculator.aspx.)

Most individuals who do not buy coverage will pay a flat fee or a percentage of household income, whichever is greater. The penalty will be $95 (or 1 percent of income) in 2014, $325 (or 2 percent) in 2015 and $695 (or 2.5 percent) in 2016.

Some companies could decide to end health benefits to early retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The 3M Corp. has already announced it intends to drop coverage for early retirees and instead give them money to buy individual policies on the exchanges.

"You can argue that employers who provide retiree health benefits have done so because of the dysfunctional individual insurance market," says Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. "Employers may decide that they don't need to do this anymore because there will be a viable alternative."


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